Poultry Processing Regulations

The backbone of the pastured poultry movement is PL 90-492, which carves out several federal processing exemptions from inspection and enables farmers to sell poultry that they raise and process on their own farm. These exemptions are a part of federal regulations and are included in the Wholesome Poultry Products Act, which is P.L 90-492 and commonly referred to as Poultry Products Inspection Act (first passed by Congress in 1957). However, each state, and sometimes individual municipalities, can complicate compliance with the federal regulations by imposing more restrictive requirements on farmers. 

This page provides a basic starting point to gather information pertinent to the processing exemptions. You should never assume the person you are talking understands these exemptions and your right to comply with them, regardless of the government agency you may be speaking with. Be well read and be educated on the matter. Always ask a regulator to show you the regulation or law that forms the basis the of his/her opinion.

Reading List

Overview of P.L. 90-492: Guidance for Determining Whether a Poultry Slaughter or Processing Operation is Exempt from Inspection Requirements of the Poultry Products Inspection Act. Revised April 1, 2006.

Overview of state poultry processing regulations: This a great first step in understanding each state's requirements. Published by Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network. Version date: October 2015.    (http://articles.extension.org/sites/default/files/NMPAN_State_Poultry_Regs_October_2015.pdf). 

FTCLDF Publishes Exempt Processing Map and Open Air Processing News: Originally published in the APPPA Grit, this details work done by the Farmer to Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF).

Aggregated Marketing Under Exemption: Published in APPPA Grit, this article provides an interpretation by FSIS regarding the aggregate marketing of multiple processors working under a producer/grower exemption.

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